China has to its credit a great civilisation, the discovery of compass, centralised administration, gun powder etc. In the present day, China is known for making cheap and low-quality goods, anti-dumping and infamous for border disputes to most neighbouring countries (14 countries by land, and 6 by sea).
China is building airstrips on disputed islands in the South China Sea, moving oil rigs into disputed waters and redefining its airspace. A decade ago, China was rising peacefully, now it wants to show its assertion by grabbing land and seas of weak nations.
The Global Attitudes Spring 2016 survey by US-based Pew Research Center said nearly 60 per cent of the Chinese think that territorial dispute between China and its neighbouring countries could lead to a military conflict, while 45 per cent see the power and influence of the US as a major threat.
Here are the countries with which China is having problems: Japan, parts of the East China Sea, particularly the Senkaku and Ryukyu Islands. With Vietnam, China claims large parts of Vietnam on historical precedent (Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644). Also, Macclesfield Bank, Paracel Islands, parts of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands.
With India, China illegally occupies 38,000 sq km (Aksai Chin) of land in Jammu & Kashmir. It also holds 5,180 km of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir under the Sino-Pak agreement of 1963. At the heart of Sino-Indian boundary dispute is the issue of Arunachal Pradesh (90,000 sq km), which China describes as “Southern Tibet”. Beijing is demanding that at least the Tawang Tract of Arunachal Pradesh, if not the whole of the state, be transferred to China.
In Nepal, China claims parts of Nepal dating back to the Sino-Nepalese War in 1788-1792. China claims it is part of Tibet as well, therefore part of China.
Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet, namely Cherkip Gompa, Dho, Dungmar, Gesur, Gezon, Itse Gompa, Khochar, Nyanri, Ringung, Sanmar, Tarchen and Zuthulphuk are claimed by China. Also Kula Kangri and mountainous areas to the west of this peak, plus the western Haa District of Bhutan.
China claims all of Taiwan, but particular disputes are: Macclesfield Bank, Paracel Islands, Scarborough Shoal, parts of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands. The Paracel Islands, also called Xisha Islands in Vietnamese, is a group of islands in the South China Sea whose sovereignty is disputed among China, Taiwan and Vietnam disputes with Burma.
There are continual unilateral claims by China on Kazakhstan territory, despite new agreements, in China’s favour signed every few years.
China claims large areas of Laos on historical precedent (China’s Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368).
The Spratly Islands is a disputed group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays, and islands in the South China Sea. About 45 islands are occupied by small numbers of military forces from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Brunei has also claimed an exclusive economic zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys encompassing just one area of small islands on Louisa Reef. This has led to escalating tensions.
Chinese claims based on historical precedent (Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912) in Tajikistan. China has, on occasion, claimed parts of Cambodia on historical precedent (China’s Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644). China claims the majority of Kyrgyzstan on the grounds that it was unfairly forced to cede the territory (which it had formerly conquered) to Russia in the 19th century. Malaysia is over parts of the South China Sea, particularly the Spratly Islands.
China claims all of Mongolia on historical precedent (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368). In fact, Mongolia, under Genghis Khan, occupied China. With North Korea too, China is having a problem in Baekdu Mountain and Jiandao. China has also on occasion claimed all of North and South Korea on historical grounds (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368). Finally with Afghanistan, Afghan province of Bahdakhshan (despite a bilateral treaty of 1963, China still encroaches on Afghan territory).
At last, one can say that China does not respect any big or small countries’ sovereignty. It had even rejected International Court of Justice Judgements on Seas. It is behaving on its whims as an export leading country. If all the actors reverse against China with India or Japan or American leadership, the withering of China shall start. The last thing that China needs in its current situation is an armed conflict with any of its neighbours. In an era of growing political and economic interdependence, such a development could only impact negatively on China.
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